China's foreign minister vanishes

 July 19, 2023

The foreign minister of communist China has not been seen in three weeks, leading to rumors about his health and well-being.

Qin Gang has missed a number of important meetings since he was last seen on June 25, days after his American counterpart, Antony Blinken, came to Beijing on a diplomatic visit.

Gang has served as Xi Jinping's foreign minister since December, and before he vanished, the former ambassador to the United States was considered a rising star in the communist government.

Chinese diplomat missing

He was last seen on June 25 with officials from Russia, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam, shortly after the abortive Wagner Group "coup" against Vladimir Putin.

Gang's absence was noted at a meeting with Southeast Asian nations in Indonesia last week, where his boss Wang Yi, China's top diplomat, represented Beijing instead. The Foreign Ministry said Gang could not attend because of health reasons, but the explanation was scrubbed from an official transcript.

The Chinese government also canceled a meeting between Gang and European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell without any explanation.

Gang's disappearance comes at a frosty time for U.S.-China relations, which have been strained by the downing of a spy balloon on U.S. territory and China's aggression toward Taiwan. A troika of top Biden officials have been to Beijing over the past couple of months in an effort to defuse tensions.

While Gang was present for a meeting with Blinken, he was not around when "climate envoy" John Kerry came to China this week, meeting instead with Yi. Gang was also nowhere in sight when Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen visited Beijing days ago.

Affair rumors

There are rumors spreading in Taiwan that Gang ran into trouble because of an affair with a journalist. The foreign ministry dismissed the rumors Monday.

"I have no understanding of the matter that you’ve raised," a foreign ministry spokesperson said.

It's not unheard of for Chinese officials to disappear, only to turn up later without explanation. Before his rise to power in 2012, Xi Jinping missed a meeting with Hillary Clinton during a mysterious two-week absence.

Whatever Gang's whereabouts, observers say the mystery has exposed cracks in Xi's authoritarian regime. Deng Yuwen, a former editor of a Communist Party newspaper who now lives in the U.S., noted that Gang "was single-handedly pulled up the ranks by Xi."

"Any problems with him will reflect badly on Xi too – implying that Xi failed to choose the right person for the job,” Weng said.

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
© 2015 - 2024 Conservative Institute. All Rights Reserved.